In a fresh crackdown on open displays of the Islamic faith, Chinese authorities have started directing restaurants and food joints in Beijing to remove signs in arabic reading ‘halal’, and symbols such as the crescent moon, reports Reuters.
“They said this is foreign culture and you should use more Chinese culture,” said a restaurant manager.
The Chinese capital is estimated to have at least 1,000 food outlet selling halal food, a number of shops have now already removed Islamic signs, or are in the process or removing them. Some shops have handled the directive by putting a Chinese sign ‘qing zhen’ meaning halal, instead of the Arabic sign.
The Chinese government, which has historically held a suspicious, or often outright antagonistic view of religions, has since 2016 massively increased its efforts to sinicise its Muslim minority, estimated to number around 20 million.
The emphasis on rapid integration of Muslims came following years of ethno-religious strife in the Western province of Xinjiang, where authorities even set up a number of ‘re-education camps’ to impart ideals of the Communist party to millions of people from the Uighur Muslim minority.